Gaming

All 14 weapon classes in Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak, ranked

The good, the viable, and the flat-out broken.

From the hard-hitting slab of steel known as the Great Sword to the delightfully absurd Hunting Horn, all of Monster Hunter Rise's fourteen weapons are wonderful in their own way. But let's be honest: these are hard games, and your experience with the new Sunbreak expansion will differ vastly depending on the weapon you choose.

All these weapons are viable with a bit of practice, some are easier to learn than others. Sunbreak also adds a handful of new switch skills (Silkbind techniques), and while some are merely decent alternatives, others have completely changed how certain weapons play, particularly in the top tier. However, many of these switch skills aren't unlocked until most of the way through Sunbreak’s progression.

While even the “low-tier” weapons here aren’t truly bad, some options are simply better than others. The grindy nature of Monster Hunter Rises loot-driven gameplay means that the further you go in the game, the more time it'll take to build a new weapon, so it's better to commit early if you can.

Here’s our assessment of where each weapon stands in terms of ease of use and damage output.

D tier: slightly disappointing

The Lance sees some improvement for Sunbreak, but it still lags behind other options.Capcom

Lance

Widely considered the most underwhelming weapon in Rise, the Lance got a general buff to most of its attacks. It also received a very nice switch skill in the form of Shield Tackle, which repositions your hunter and increases the pace of the weapon's poke-heavy gameplay. However, its other moves aren't that impressive.

Burst option Skyward Thrust is arguably one of the coolest-looking moves in the game, but it leaves you open to counter-attacks. Backward dash Sheathing Retreat is useful in a pinch, but Lance players should be in the monster's face, not running away.

Like the Gunlance, though the pokey boy Lance received some great buffs in Sunbreak, it still lags behind other weapons in terms of damage and mobility. However, compared to base Rise, it's a completely different beast.

C tier: Not bad

The Hammer requires a lot of skill to use well, and while it’s a formidable damage-dealer, it’s tough to recommend to newbies.Capcom

Hammer

A controversial placement for sure, but hear me out. Though it's certainly fun to bonk monsters on the head for a clutch stun, the hammer remains one of the most difficult-to-use weapons in Sunbreak. Though the new switch skill Keeping Sway repositions you while keeping your current charge level, and the new Spinning Bludgeon: Charge skill lets you chain together multiple charged attacks, they fail to deal with the weapon's main weakness: a lack of defensive options.

Despite its place as one of the slowest options in Monster Hunter Rise, the hammer cannot guard, unlike many of the other hard-hitting weapons. And though it does have a counter in the form of Water Strike — as well as iframes during the mode change — they are finicky and require a lot of time to master.

In the hands of an experienced player, the Hammer is a very effective weapon in Sunbreak, particularly with multiple ranks of Evade Extender. Make no mistake, it is capable of out-damaging many of the higher-tier weapons. However, for newbies, it's a bit of a trap option, and that's why it's in the bottom half of the list.

Gunlance

Believe it or not, the lowly Gunlance gets some very cool new toys in Sunbreak. The switch skill Bullet Barrage can deal a frankly baffling amount of damage in a single shot, but at great cost. The sheller also gained a clutch new mobility option in the form of Reverse Blast, which it really needed. Unfortunately, Gunlance still lacks consistent damage options compared to its melee brethren, and its slow movement doesn't help either.

Like Great Sword, it relies heavily on proper positioning in order to get those juicy hits on vulnerable monster parts, but the Great Sword has a much better kit overall. However, it's definitely a lot better than in base Rise, so check it out if you're interested.

Heavy Bowgun

As mentioned above, the overall nerf to ranged weapons hit the Heavy Bowgun hard, though you can fight back with the right armor skills. Sunbreak’s new switch skills encourage a more stationary playstyle for the HBG, particularly Setting Sun and Rising Moon, which force you to keep the monster inside a small circle to inflict max damage. Similarly, the new Crouching Shot hits for a lot when used correctly, but it's difficult to line up shots against the highly mobile monsters in Sunbreak.

Though ranged weapons are inherently good in Monster Hunter, the Heavy Bowgun is by far the worst in Sunbreak due to its slow speed. However, it is still usable with the right build.

B tier: quite good

The Hunting Horn is surprisingly solid in the Sunbreak expansion.Capcom

Bow

The bow's damage capacity is borderline broken in base Rise, and subsequent Sunbreak nerfs have left it a shell of its former self. That said, it's still a very good weapon once you get the hang of it. Most of Sunbreak's new bow switch skills encourage a more up-close-and-personal playstyle, especially Stake Thrust, which is literally a melee attack. Bolt Boost gives Bow users extra damage, but you have to be at very close range to use it, similar to Light Bowgun's Critical Firepower.

The fact that Capcom gave two of the ranged weapons a skill that forces you to be close to the monster shows just how nice it is to deal pain from afar in an action game. However, on balance, the bow's cool new tricks don't make up for its damage falloff, and that's why it's mid-tier.

Charge Blade

Though the famously-complex Charge Blade is typically one of the most powerful weapons in previous Monster Hunter games, in Sunbreak, it's merely very good. The new switch skills for the old axe-and-sword are more focused on giving Charge Blade players more playstyle options than improving its primary attacks. For example, Ready Stance gives CB players a new block, but optimal players will probably want to stick with Counter Peak Performance to charge their vials for maximum damage.

Some players are now building around the new switch skill Condensed Spinning Slash, which works well with critical hit-oriented armor skills like Chain Crit. On the plus side, the Elemental Discharges now have a much bigger hitbox, which will help you break high-up monster parts more easily than before. While Charge Blade was a solid weapon in base Rise, other weapons received more compelling changes in Sunbreak, so it remains in the mid-tier for now.

Hunting Horn

Perhaps the strangest weapon in Monster Hunter, the multiplayer-focused Hunting Horn is surprisingly great in Sunbreak. The new switch skill Sonic Bloom gives the weapon a good high-damage option against distracted or toppled monsters, and the skill Swing Combo gives the slow weapon a little more mobility. Another new switch skill, Silkbind Shockwave, further increases your ability to exhaust and stun monsters with extra hits.

The biggest boon for the Hunting Horn isn't a switch skill at all, but the new melodies offered by Master Rank weapons. In multiplayer, Sharpness Melody will ensure that you and your allies rarely lose sharpness, if ever, which will dramatically increase their damage output and prevent downtime. Overall, while the Hunting Horn isn't going to win any awards for its solo capabilities, it's quite viable in Sunbreak.

Sword and Shield

Often unfairly dismissed as a beginner's weapon, the Sword and Shield got a fairly significant buff in Sunbreak. Capstone attack Perfect Rush had its power increased, and the new switch skill Twin Blade Combo allows players to choose between stun damage and laying on the elemental damage. Personally, though, I would recommend using the new Shield Bash in order to stun the monster that much more effectively.

As a whole, the new switch skills for SnS are fairly underwhelming. (One of them, Destroyer Oil, is a simple buff that helps you stagger monsters faster. Yawn.) However, Perfect Rush is such an important skill for Sword & Shield users that any increase to its attack represents a pretty decent boost for the weapon.

A tier: very strong

The Light Bowgun isn’t quite as strong as it was in base Rise, but it’s still the best ranged option on offer in Sunbreak.Capcom

Light Bowgun

Ranged weapons as a whole are very good in base Rise, but Sunbreak brings a raft of nerfs that have knocked the Bowguns down a peg or two. The power of sticky and slicing ammo were reduced by quite a bit, which took many top Rise builds offline. However, Light Bowgun is still very good at delivering pain from afar, but you'll need to take advantage of the new switch skills in order to make the most of it.

For example, the new Critical Firepower skill allows you to reach much better damage numbers, but you'll need to stick close to your target in order to keep it active. Also, the Light Bowgun is much more manueverable than its heavier brethren, and you can use switch skills like Fanning Vault and Wyvern Counter to avoid getting hit by the fast, powerful monsters of Sunbreak. While the LBG isn't quite as good as it used to be, it's still the strongest ranged option in the game, and we recommend it.

Dual Blades

While not everyone will agree with this placement, I think it's fair to say that the Dual Blades are absolutely deadly in the right hands in Sunbreak. The burst-damage combo Spiral Slash alone has vastly improved the damage of the aerial Dual Blades playstyle, and the new Slide Slash Combo allows grounded DB users to reposition themselves to take flight again. Additionally, many of the weapon's key attacks had their damage boosted, especially for elemental builds.

Some players might get some use out of the new Ironshine Silk switch skill, which lets you regain sharpness by dodging attacks, but Shrouded Vault is such a key defensive skill that you probably don't want to abandon it. The Dual Blades still require a lot of finesse and careful dodging in order to use correctly - especially if you enjoy flying around in the air - but all-in-all, they're still a very powerful weapon. Check out our mid-game build if you want to try them for yourself.

Insect Glaive

One of the most newbie-friendly weapons in Monster Hunter, the Insect Glaive received a few interesting additions in Sunbreak. There are three new Kinsect bonuses that give hunters more options on how to plan their playstyle, particularly the highly-damaging Powder Vortex.

The switch skill Awakened Kinsect Attack has given the glaive a powerful new attack that's best-used when all your extracts are about to expire, and there are several new switch skills that give the Insect Glaive more manueverability, especially in the air. These damage boosts have brought the Insect Glaive up into the top ranks.

S tier: the best of the best

The Long Sword is still one of the best weapons in Sunbreak, but a changed-up playstyle means that even experienced players will face a bit of a learning curve.Capcom

Switch Axe

The Switch Axe notched perhaps the most valuable new switch skill in all of Sunbreak: a versatile parry called the Elemental Burst Counter. While it costs two Wirebugs, and takes a few hours to master, the mere existence of a strong defensive option has elevated the weapon to new heights. A successful counter maximizes the Switch Axe's Amp Gauge, which allows crafty players to chain big sword mode combos, as well as the beloved Zero Sum Discharge.

Besides the counter, the new switch skill Wire Step gives Switch Axe players a strong evasion option with a large invulnerability window that recharges quickly. There's also the 2-Staged Morph Slash Combo, which lets you build meter even faster. As a whole, the Switch Axe went from great to truly goated in Sunbreak, and it's one of the best weapons in the game as a result. It's still somewhat lacking in defense compared to the Long Sword, however.

Long Sword

Widely-considered one of the best melee weapons in base Rise, the good-old weeb stick is an entirely different beast in Sunbreak due to some fairly major nerfs. The days of Iai Spirit Slash counter-spamming into the Soaring Kick Helmsplitter are now over, as both those techniques do significantly less damage than before. Instead, Long Sword players now rely on a charge-up Sacred Sheath switch skill in order to inflict a massive three-hit combo on the monster's weak point. (It also has a counter, because of course it does.) Watch out, though — if you miss the combo, you'll be entirely out of Spirit Levels with nothing to show for it.

The once-obscure switch skill Sakura Slash has now become a key part of the Long Sword meta, as it inflicts much more damage than before, as well as boosting your Spirit Level by one on a hit. Overall, the Long Sword is still an amazing weapon in Sunbreak, but players who poured hundreds of hours into base Rise will have quite a learning curve in order to master this new optimal playstyle.

Great Sword

In terms of raw damage output and sheer usability, Great Sword was tremendously buffed in Sunbreak. The new switch skill Strongarm Stance completely changes the way that the weapon is played at a basic level, allowing you to skip a full charge level directly into a massively damaging True Charge Slash by countering a monster attack. The new Backslide switch skill also gives the ultra-slow sword an extra evasion option.

Also, let's not forget that Sunbreak significantly increased the damage of most of the GS's key attacks, including staples like True Charged Slash. While it's still too early to declare it the best weapon in the game, Great Sword delivers the most eye-popping damage numbers of any entry on this list, and that's why it's top-tier.

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is available now for Nintendo Switch and PC.

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